| | | | |

Authentic Chicken Pad Thai Recipe

This post may contain links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and I receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. I appreciate your support!

This authentic chicken pad Thai recipe beats any Thai restaurant order. It’s easy to make with stir-fried rice noodles tossed in a homemade sauce that’s the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty.

Authentic chicken pad Thai served in a traditional bamboo dish, accompanied by chili flakes and a lime wedge.

Forget takeout! This traditional family recipe is ideal for quick and easy weeknight dinners. Just make the easy pad Thai sauce ahead of time and you’ll have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.

You can easily swap out the chicken for any protein of your choice, or try my authentic recipes for beef pad Thai and vegetarian pad Thai for delicious variations.

What is chicken pad Thai

Chicken pad Thai is a classic Thai noodle dish with stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, and chicken, all tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce. It’s a street food favorite that’s often served with garnishes like peanuts, white sugar, and red pepper flakes.


Did you know that kua mee is the pad Thai of Lao cuisine? It’s pretty similar but unique in its own way, definitely worth a try after making this!

Authentic chicken pad Thai

Honestly, it’s surprisingly hard to find a truly authentic version, even in some Thai restaurants. What you often get is far from the sweet, tangy, and savory stir-fried noodles that define this classic.

This classic Thai street food is a staple all around the globe, and with it, lots of wrong variations exist.

Close-up of authentic chicken pad Thai noodles, garnished with bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, and a lime wedge.

Let’s be real: ketchup or peanut butter in pad Thai? That’s a culinary no-no! Ketchup has no business with these authentic Thai chicken noodles.

To make the best pad Thai noodles, just like in Thailand, you need quite a few ingredients. Some easier, Westernized recipes use few ingredients like vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. They’re simple to make, but they don’t capture the authentic flavors.

An authentic chicken pad Thai recipe:

  • Has tender noodles with a bite: The noodles are cooked to perfection – tender, yet with a bite – somewhere between soft and al dente.
  • Is love at first bite: That traditional blend of fish sauce, tamarind, crisp bean sprouts, and perfectly cooked noodles? It’s what dreams are made of.
  • Is balanced: The best pad Thai sauce nails a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour.
  • Feels light: A portion of these chicken noodles should fill you up perfectly – satisfied without feeling stuffed.
Chopsticks lifting noodles over a plate of authentic pad Thai.

Authentic pad Thai recipe substitutions

Thai food is all about variety. Every region in Thailand, and even each home, has its own special take on flavors and ingredients. Here’s how you can tweak this Thai noodles recipe to make it right for you:

Pad Thai noodles: No need to stick to the traditional rice noodles. Mix it up with sen yai noodles or glass noodles.

Vegetables: Feel free to toss in your some of your favorite stir-fry vegetables, it’s not traditional, but you can make this recipe yours. Try bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, etc.

Add spice: For those who love spicy pad Thai like pad mee korat, simply add fresh Thai chilies like bird’s eye chilies or sprinkle Thai chili flakes over your finished pad Thai chicken noodles.

Proteins: Not a fan of chicken? No problem! Switch it up with pork, tofu-only, shrimp, or your favorite seafood. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Ingredients

Pad Thai ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Pad Thai ingredients labeled: rice noodles, bean sprouts, pad Thai sauce, chicken, water, garlic chives, egg, garlic, dried shrimp, tofu, shallots, sweet preserved radish.
  • Pad Thai sauce – My authentic recipe has the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and salty. Made with palm sugar, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and water.
  • Flat dry rice noodles – Before using dry rice noodles, soak them until they’re tender with a slight chew.
  • Dried shrimp – A traditional Thai ingredient, dried shrimp adds a depth of umami and seafood flavor.
  • Firm tofu – Firm tofu provides a nice tender bite and a unique, subtle flavor. Perfect for vegetarians.
  • Chicken – Cut your chicken into thin slices for quick cooking and tenderness. The thinly sliced chicken can easily absorb the pad Thai sauce and blends with the noodles. Opt for chicken fillets or boneless skinless chicken thighs for a juicier bite.
  • Sweet preserved radish – Sweet preserved radish adds a subtle tangy-sweet note and crunch to the stir-fried rice noodles.
  • Bean sprouts – Bean sprouts, a must in authentic pad Thai, bring a refreshing crunch and fresh flavors. I like to garnish with fresh bean sprouts just before serving.
  • Garlic chives – Garlic chives can be substituted with leek or green onions.
  • Shallots – Shallots add a natural sweetness and light onion-like taste without overpowering the other flavors
  • Garlic – Garlic is the fragrant base of many Thai stir-fry dishes, adding a pungent flavor and lots of aroma.
  • Egg – Eggs bring a creamy texture and rich flavor that perfectly complements the noodles.
  • Oil – Use a neutral oil with high smoke point, like canola oil or vegetable oil.
  • Water

Toppings (optional)

  • Roasted peanuts – The finishing touch to a great tasting pad Thai are crushed peanuts. Roasting peanuts prior to crushing them will make them even tastier.
  • Thai chili flakes I love eating spicy Thai food, and spicy pad Thai is no exception. With red chili flakes, you can easily make your noodles spicy.
  • White sugar – In Thailand, it’s common to see white sugar served on the side because Thai people really enjoy sweet flavors.
  • Lime – Serve with a lime wedge on the side for adding a tangy note.

How to make pad Thai chicken

Hand lifting soaked flat rice noodles.

Step 1: Soak flat rice noodles in water until they are soft but still have a little bit of resistance. Read your package instructions for soaking time.

Sautéed chicken breast pieces in a wok.

Step 2: Cook your chicken with 1 tablespoon of oil until it’s done. Remove from pan and set aside.

Crispy fried shallots in a wok.

Step 3: Heat the remaining oil in your wok and fry sliced shallots until golden.

Fried tofu, shallots, garlic, dried mini shrimp, and sweet preserved radish cooked in a wok.

Step 4: Add diced tofu and cook until it has a golden crust. Then, add garlic, dried mini shrimp, and preserved radish, continue to cook for another minute.

Rice noodles with tofu and other pad Thai ingredients fried in a wok.

Step 5: Move everything to one side of your pan, add the pre-soaked noodles and water in the other half. Then, stir-fry the noodles with water until they’re softened. At this point, mix the whole thing together.

Pad Thai sauce stir-fried with rice noodles and tofu in a wok.

Step 6: Stir in your homemade pad Thai sauce and cook for about a minute, until the noodles are coated with sauce and everything is well mixed.

Authentic chicken pad Thai cooking in a wok.

Step 7: Add your cooked chicken and mix well with the noodles.

Preparing authentic pad Thai in a wok with an egg on the side.

Step 8: Move everything to one side of your pan, crack an egg into the other half. Lightly scramble, then thoroughly mix everything.

Authentic chicken pad Thai cooked in a wok, ready to be served.

Step 9: Turn off the heat and stir in your bean sprouts and garlic chives. Serve immediately.

Kitchenware

  • Large bowl (for soaking the dry rice noodles)
  • Mortar and pestle (for crushing the peanuts)
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large wok pan with spatula
Chef cooking in a kitchen at a Thai restaurant.
This traditional Pad Thai recipe is my mother’s creation. She specifically designed it for use in our former Thai restaurant where it was a big hit.

Thai chicken noodles tips

Use my pad Thai sauce recipe: You’ll need one serving of the pad Thai sauce to make authentic Thai noodles for two.

Authentic recipe for pad Thai: My mother created this recipe for our former Thai restaurant. It’s easy and packed with genuine flavors.

Don’t overcrowd your pan: Stick to cooking a maximum of 2 portions at a time in a large wok. This ensures every noodle strand gets evenly coated with sauce and cooked.

Make the sauce in bulk: Making the sauce in bulk can save you time during those busy weeknights. It freezes perfectly for up to a month.

Vegetarian pad Thai: Use a vegetarian fish sauce alternative to prepare your homemade sauce. Swap chicken for more tofu and omit dried shrimp. The eggs add a rich, creamy texture so if you don’t mind eating eggs I wouldn’t omit them.

Phad Thai noodles serving ideas

Serve your pad Thai hot. Add garnishes like crushed peanuts, white sugar, fresh lime wedges, bean sprouts, and Thai chili flakes.

Serve in an egg wrap

Ever wondered how some Thai restaurants serve pad Thai? In an egg wrap!

Authentic chicken pad Thai in an egg wrap on a white dish with wooden chopsticks.

Making restaurant-quality authentic chicken pad Thai is easy and totally do-able for every home cook.

Here’s what you need: just 1 egg, a pinch of salt, and a sauce dispenser.

Step-by-step instructions for how to make chicken pad Thai in an egg wrap.
  1. Beat an egg together with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Pour the egg mixture into a sauce dispenser.
  2. Squeeze the egg into a non-stick cooking pan or wok pan without using oil. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, use a little bit of oil.
  3. Once the egg is cooked (this shouldn’t take long), carefully remove it from the pan with a spatula.
  4. Lay the cooked egg on a flat plate and place it in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, take the egg out and lay it in a bowl.
  6. Place a small portion of pad Thai over the egg.
  7. Fold the sides of the egg over the pad Thai.
  8. Put a flat plate on top of the bowl and quickly flip it over.
  9. Confidently remove the bowl to reveal your dish.

Storing and reheating tips

Storing: Let your leftover noodles cool down until they’re at room temperature. Keep them stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to three days.

Reheating: Stir-fry the noodles in a wok on the stovetop over medium heat until warm. Alternatively, you can microwave it in a covered dish.

Frequently answered questions

Is pad Thai healthy?

Pad Thai can be a healthy option depending on the recipe and ingredients used. Traditional pad Thai includes protein like chicken, vegetables like bean sprouts, and carbs from rice noodles. However, it can be high in sodium and sugar.

Is pad Thai gluten-free?

Pad Thai can be gluten-free if it’s not prepared with soy sauce or other gluten-containing ingredients. However, most recipes call for soy sauces or other gluten-containing seasonings.

Is pad Thai vegetarian?

Pad Thai often contains fish sauce and protein like shrimp or chicken, which is not vegetarian. However, the ingredients can easily be modified to turn it into a vegetarian dish.

How many calories in chicken pad Thai?

A typical serving of chicken pad Thai contains approximately 500 to 700 calories, varying based on ingredients and serving size.

Where to buy pad Thai sauce?

You can find pad Thai sauce at most Asian grocery stores and Asian markets. You can also order it from online retailers.

Authentic Thai noodle recipes

Loved reading this authentic chicken pad thai recipe? Please make my day by dropping a star rating and/or a comment below! Follow me on social media: FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Authentic Chicken Pad Thai Recipe

Authentic chicken pad Thai served in a traditional bamboo dish, accompanied by chili flakes and a lime wedge.
Authentic chicken pad Thai recipe with the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. You need my homemade pad Thai sauce to make this recipe.
Praew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2

Ingredients

Main

  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 150 g chicken thinly sliced
  • 40 g shallots thinly sliced
  • 60 g tofu diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5 g dried mini shrimp
  • 40 g sweet preserved radish
  • 140 g dry rice noodles
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 serving of pad Thai sauce see notes
  • 1 egg
  • 20 g garlic chives cut into 1 inch-sized pieces, see notes
  • 100 g bean sprouts

Optional toppings

  • 1 lime
  • crushed roasted peanuts add to taste
  • Thai chili flakes add to taste, see notes
  • white sugar add to taste

Instructions

  • Soak flat rice noodles in room temperature water until they are soft but still have a little bit of resistance. Read your package instructions for soaking time.
  • Cook your chicken with 1 tablespoon of oil until it’s done. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in your wok and fry sliced shallots until golden.
  • Add diced tofu and cook until it has a golden crust. Then, add garlic, dried mini shrimp, and preserved radish, continue to cook for another minute.
  • Move everything to one side of your pan, add the pre-soaked noodles and water in the other half. Then, stir-fry the noodles with water until they’re softened. At this point, mix the whole thing together.
  • Stir in your homemade pad Thai sauce and cook for about a minute, until the noodles are coated with sauce and everything is well mixed.
  • Add your cooked chicken and mix well with the noodles.
  • Move everything to one side of your pan, crack an egg into the other half. Lightly scramble, then thoroughly mix everything.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in your bean sprouts and garlic chives. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Chicken: Use chicken fillets or boneless chicken thighs.
  • Garlic chives: Can be substituted with leek or green onions.
  • Pad Thai sauce: This recipe calls for my homemade pad Thai sauce. The sauce recipe yields just enough to make this recipe for pad Thai.
  • Thai chili flakes

Similar Posts

8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I live in Baltimore, MD, USA where we don’t have great Thai food. In particular, the Pad Thai options are really not great – almost entirely too sweet, definitely tomato paste or ketchup. I found this recipe (including the sauce) on Reddit, and it instantly became the best Pad Thai in Baltimore.

    Highly recommend.

    1. 5 stars
      Hey William.

      Thank you so much for your motivating and positive comment.

      By the way: I told my mother, since this is her recipe from our former Thai restaurant, and she was super happy and proud!

  2. 5 stars
    I came across your recipe on Reddit and decided to give it a go as I love Pad Thai.
    Made it twice in 2 days coz we really loved it (my partner thought it was better even compared to our favourite restaurant).

    Although I have tried dozens of Thai restaurants in various countries (not Thailand), this was my first time cooking Thai food. Thank you soooo much for this recipe 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating